Caulk selection is performance based, but most likely is based on what the contractor has used in the past or the lowest cost product available.
The following should be considered in selecting the best caulk for your job:
- Inside or outside application
- Temperature at the time of application
- Paintable or non-paintable
- Depth or width of opening
Today there are more choices than ever so it's a good idea to review what is available.
Most common types of caulk come in a variety of formulations that affect cost, durability, and adhesion. They are fully cured when the water has evaporated, easy to apply, and residue can be easily cleaned with soap and water. Acrylic caulk is an ideal solution for a wide variety of applications because it is paintable and reasonably priced.
Silicones cure quickly and can be used in low temperature conditions. They are also very flexible, extremely durable while they maintain their properties over a wide temperature range. Most 100% silicones cannot be painted.
The best-selling caulks are acrylic based because of a higher degree of flexibility and elongation. The quality of these products has improved greatly over the past several years.
Many times the purchase decision is based on cost and the expected "warranty life." Many are labeled from 15 years to lifetime performance, but the greatest volume is 35 to 45 year caulks. Year designations do not guarantee performance or longevity.
The applicator needs to make a selection based on the requirements that will be placed on the caulk. Check the information on the tube and read what the product has been tested for. If you need more information than what is on the tube, contact the manufacturer to help you make a more informed purchase.